Cooler times for home loan market
IT seems Australians took a break from the property market over the festive season, sending home loan approvals to a seven-month low.
The number of approvals slumped by a sharper than expected 3.9 per cent in January, with falls in loans to both owner-occupiers and investors.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said weaker home lending in the first month of 2016 followed several strong months, and wouldn’t be overly concerning to the Reserve Bank.
“The big surprise was the pullback in owner-occupied lending,” he said.
The value of owner-occupier loan approvals declined 4.3 per cent, which ANZ economists said reflected the dampening impact on housing sales of mortgage rate increases late in 2015. The value of investor lending also fell, down 1.6 per cent in January, and down almost 15 per cent from a year earlier. “We are now seeing a general cooling in housing market activity,” the ANZ economists said. But Dr Oliver said December and January housing market data tends to be less reliable due to the holiday season.